Lab Canada

Obesity in the spotlight: $2.8M for health research projects

Ottawa, ON – The federal government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have announced funding of more than $2.8 million to fund 13 health research projects on childhood obesity.

According to Statistic Canada’s findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey, 26% of Canadian children and adolescents aged two to 17 were overweight or obese in 2004. Between 1978 and 2004 the obesity rate among 12-17 year olds increased from 3% to 9%.

“We need to learn more about childhood obesity in order to provide Canadian children with the opportunity to become healthier adults,” said Dr. Bernstein, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “This CIHR-led initiative demonstrates our commitment to Canada’s children and will deepen our knowledge and understanding of obesity, ensuring that all of us, including governments, our school system and families are able to make evidence-based decisions to help prevent childhood obesity.”

Some of the projects include:

– Dr Patti-Jean Naylor (University of Victoria) and Dr Heather McKay (University of British Columbia) are evaluating the effectiveness of the provincial dissemination of the Action Schools! BC model. This research will help us develop effective physical activity and healthy eating programs for schools that work; and

– Dr Laurent Legault (Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC) is exploring the influence of mentorship on enhancing the physical activity behaviour and health of overweight and obese youth through a program called “Mentors-in-Motion of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal”.

The Childhood Obesity Initiative was launched in 2004 by CIHR’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and CIHR’s Institutes of Population and Public Health, Human Development, Child and Youth Health, and Gender and Health.